Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pablo Picasso's Words of Wisdom

Wow. Two great finds today. Discovered a site called Paintalicious which spotlights various mixed-media artists. Can't believe I'd never heard of this site before! Worth checking out regularly.

The other great find -- Inspiring stuff for anyone toiling in the art trenches...Paintalicious has a post featuring seven quotes from the Man himself, Pablo Picasso. (Above photo -- a classic by Gjon Mili.)

1. "He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't. This is an inexorable, indisputable law."

2. "I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

3. "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working."

4. "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

5. "Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not."

6. "If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes."

7. "Youth has no age."

Paintalicious also include a couple other Picasso quotes, and this last one is too good: "Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun."

I'm not sure which one I love more: the previous one, or #5. I feel like painting those in big letters on my ceiling.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Longest Read & Breaking News

What's the longest book you've ever read? Yesterday I finished my all-time longest. 1350 pages long....the entire epic trilogy that is Mark Chadbourn's AGE OF MISRULE, which I read in its British omnibus form. Next year Pyr will be releasing the trilogy in simultaneous spiffy new editions, and I'm working up thumbnails for those covers.

Breaking news -- I'm happy to say that I've agreed with Solaris to illustrate the cover for Mark's new novel THE LORD OF SILENCE, which will be a 2009 release in the UK and US. Printing out the manuscript right now and looking forward to more Chadbourn greatness. :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday Night with Boxcar Satan

Took a break from deadlines late last night. Went with pals Scott A. Cupp and Sean Lackey to check out Boxcar Satan, one of San Antonio's finest bands. They're releasing a brand-new CD this fall, but nothing matches seeing them live. The band is Sanford Allen (lead guitar and lead vocals); Patrick Sane (bass guitar); and Aaron Seibert (drums). Some of the photos may appear to have too much red-eye, but I tend to believe the camera unveils the truth. Enjoy photos of a Texas rock band possessed.

HELL ON SIX STRINGS: Sanford Allen blistering through the night's opening number

DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SETS: 15 years ago, young Sanford Allen made a deal with the devil, and the rest, as they say, is history.

THE REAL THING: Patrick Sane shows all hair-metal bass guitar hacks how to really play

EVEN BETTER THAN THE REAL THING: (left) the headless Aaron Seibert on drums, with Patrick on bass (right) captures the band's kinetic energy better than standard photography ever could...I don't think any photo could ever communicate how good a drummer Aaron Seibert really is.

INFINITE: All great bands seem to be a conduit of something greater than the sum of their parts....hard to know whether Boxcar Satan is a conduit from heaven or from hell, but they're awesome and one-of-a-kind!

Wanna hear some of their tunes? Make sure to check out one of my favorites, "Shoot Down the Sun." And of course, you can browse and buy over at Itunes, CDBaby, and all finer music vendors.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy B-Day, SF Awards Watch!

Today Science Fiction Awards Watch officially is one year old. Congrats to Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee for a job very well done over there. What other site lets you know not only some of the best in sf/fantasy in the US and UK, but all around the world? Thanks to SFAW, I'm much more aware of what's going in sf/fantasy beyond the US and UK, and that's a very good thing. We're fortunate to have a site like this. Visit them often, participate in their polls, and let your voice be heard over there year-round, if you haven't already.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Joe, Mike, and me

Laura Domitz is a friend and long-time member of the Fandom Association of Central Texas. She's also the tireless photographer that shoots candid photos of me and countless others at cons everywhere. I call her photos "sniper shots" because I rarely see Laura coming until she's taken her shot. This past weekend at Armadillocon, I watched her studiously catalog stacks of prints (that she printed with her own money) so that she could gift them to the lucky folks in the photos. She's one-of-a-kind. Over the years, Laura's captured every conceivable facial expression of mine and frankly, a lot of expressions I wish I didn't conceive. Recently she gave me this photograph she shot at the Nebula Awards in March. It's one of the very few photos of me that I'll cherish forever. Left to right -- Joe R. Lansdale, 2008 SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock, and me, after Mike was given SFWA's big honor. Besides the occasion of the photo, it's meaningful because the first covers I ever illustrated were for these two authors. Pretty cool. Thanks, Laura! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Help Amelia Beamer's Family

Amelia Beamer is a class act, and one of the main editors of LOCUS MAGAZINE. She lost her father-in-law to a sudden heart attack on August 13. Ellen Datlow's blog has details, but in a nutshell, her father-in-law was a man of the people who worked on behalf of poverty-stricken communities. His family could use some financial help in the wake of funeral and cremation costs that his limited insurance couldn't cover. The economy's tough on everyone right now, but if you can pitch in a few dollars to help one of the good ones in our science fiction community, it would be appreciated.
(Photo of Amelia by Ellen Datlow)


Dear all,

It is with deep sadness that we inform you that Arthur Wayne Jokela has passed away. He was traveling home from his work in Malawi and Mozambique when he collapsed suddenly during a layover in London, and died of a heart attack in St. Thomas's hospital on August 13, 2008. The body is being cremated and brought home to Los Angeles by friends.

In lieu of flowers or cards, we will be accepting donations to the Arthur Jokela Memorial Fund to cover funeral expenses and travel costs incurred by his environmental and civic outreach projects in Africa and around the world. There is a Paypal account set up to receive donations of any size, with a web page at the link below. You don't need a Paypal account; there is a link on the left side of the page to continue with a credit card.

Memorial services will be announced within the next few months, most likely to occur in early November to commemorate Arthur's birthday on November 5th. You can keep in touch via the new email address:, or my email address:

Karen Jokela and family
1801 West Orange Grove
Pomona CA 91768
phone: 909.620.6288

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Denvention Art Show Video

The fabulous Cheryl Morgan just posted a video interview with me that gives a good look at my recent Worldcon Art Show exhibit. Much gratitude and mad props to Cheryl for crafting this spontaneous little video. You're the best! For all those who didn't make it to Worldcon this year, or didn't make it to the Art Show (for shame), check it out. :) I'll do it all over again at next year's World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal!

Monday, August 18, 2008

STAR TREK Covers in the Wild

Glimpsed at a San Antonio Barnes & Noble (410/San Pedro)...a shelf full of recent STAR TREK paperbacks with covers by me. Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books is the publisher. The TEROK NOR covers connect to form a single triptych. FEARFUL SYMMETRY (far right) features a flip cover on the back. Not seen here is ECHOES & REFRACTIONS, which features a story by my pal Chris Roberson. Collect 'em all. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Armadillocon 30 Wrapup

Great times this weekend at Armadillocon 30 in Austin, TX. Rode to the show with Boxcar Satan's Sanford Allen early Friday morning. Over the next three days, we hung out with friends new and old including Author GOH John Scalzi, Editor GOH Sheila Williams, Artist GOH David Lee Anderson, Special Guests Joe and Gay Haldeman, Chris Roberson, Vincent Docherty, Rick Klaw, Scott Cupp, John Denardo, Mikal Trimm, Matthew Bey, Matt Sturges, Paul Benjamin, Jayme Blaschke, the Lansdales, the Moorcocks, William Browning Spencer, Peggy Hailey, Rocky Kelley, Joe McKinney, Josh Rountree, Mark Williams, Lee Thomas, Patrice Sarath (shoutout to my sister-in-law Rachel!) and more. Bill Crider proudly carried on the 'Dillocon tradition of great Toastmasters. Hats off to Kurt Baty, Chuck Siros, Kimm Antell, Scott Zrubek, Fred Duarte, Karen Meschke, A.T. Campbell, and all FACT folk who threw another great con this year. Need to unpack and return to normal work mode, but first some pics:

YAY, FREE DRINK TICKETS!: (l to r) -- Willie Siros, Sara Felix, and Scott Cupp at Friday night's "Meet the Pros" reception

IT LIVES!: My original triptych assemblage art for Jeffrey Ford's WELL-BUILT CITY survives the trip from Denvention (very grateful for that minor miracle), and gets ready for display in the Armadillocon Art Show

NO ORDINARY JOE: Rising star (and San Antonio homeboy) Joe McKinney signs copies of his zombie novel DEAD CITY

THE OTHER CON: Our hotel was also home to a completely different con which ran simultaneously with 'Dillocon. Sanford Allen wonders which meaning of "con" is most appropriate here.

NECTAR OF VICTORY: ASIMOV'S editor supreme and GOH Sheila Williams drinks to the Pros' victory in the Fannish Feud (martini by the great Scott Bobo)

GIMME SHELTER: Bradley Denton and Caroline Spector jam the Stones classic in an impromptu hotel room session

THEY KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE: Secret Masters of Fandom unite! Mary Kay Kare (far left) rocks Reno 2011's party with members of Team Reno -- Ben Yalow, Patty Wells, and Vincent Docherty.

MAKING THE ROUNDS: Author GOH John Scalzi (ZOE'S TALE) (far right) does his GOH thing and cruises the Saturday night fan parties.

BEHOLD THE MAN: (l to r) -- The great Michael Moorcock, yours truly, and Sanford Allen outside Hyde Park Grill for Sunday lunch (photo by Linda Moorcock)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Armadillocon 30 Schedule

Don't look now -- here comes Armadillocon 30 in Austin, TX. My schedule for the next few days, plus work for sale in the con's Art Show. See you there!

Fr2100DW Report from Denvention
Fri 9:00 PM-10:00 PM deWitt
Bobo, Docherty, Gelb, Meschke(M), J. Moore, Picacio, Price
A group of people freshly returned from last weekend's World Science Fiction Convention will give a report on the highlights of this huge international gathering

Fr2200PN New Space Opera
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Phoenix North
Duggins, Fletcher, Mills, N. J. Moore, Picacio(M), Reasoner, Scalzi
The subgenre established by Doc Smith, Edmond Hamilton, and Jack Williamson has persisted and evolved to a new tradition upheld by Iain M. Banks, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, John Scalzi, and others. Our panelists will discuss this evolution, where they think Space Opera is now, and where it's going

Sa1000DW Artists, Collectors, and Art Show Directors
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM deWitt
Anderson(M), Antell, Hart, Kelley, Picacio, Zrubek
A look at convention art shows from several different perspectives

Sa1600PN Fannish Feud
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Phoenix North
Anderson, Babcock, Bobo, Crider(M), Docherty, Gelb, G. Haldeman, M. Hall, Persons, Picacio, Scalzi, S. Williams
Join the fun at our game of trivia pitting fans vs. pros

Sa1900DW Book Covers
Sat 7:00 PM-8:00 PM deWitt
Denton, Picacio, Hart, Roberson, Rosen, Spencer(M)
What makes a great -- or not-so-great -- cover? How much difference can it make to the success of a book? How can the artist and author collaborate?

Su1100DR Autographing
Sun 11:00 AM-Noon Dealers' Room
N. J. Moore, Oliver, Picacio, Roberts

SF Signal: Mind Meld #32

The geniuses of SF Signal are at it again -- pooling the hivemind of science fiction for another art-driven episode of their Mind Meld series. This time -- "How have digital tools affected the way in which you create your artistic pieces? Will a 100% digitally created work of art ever be considered a 'masterpiece', able to take its place alongside the current masterpieces?" Thoughts by Lou Anders, Dave Seeley, Maurizio Manzieri, yours truly, and many more. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Worldcon on News9 Denver

Looks like I got a little TV face time at Denvention last week. NBC affiliate News9 in Denver did a 2-1/2 minute feature segment about Worldcon arriving in their fair city. Brooke Thacker is the reporter for the piece, which surveys preparations for the show on the first day. I'm in the mix, right around the 2:16 mark, setting up my art show display. Needless to say, my attention wasn't completely on her and the camera. ;)

Other cameos: John Hertz and his propeller beanie got a lot of love. Look for a funny cameo by SCI FI editor Scott Edelman. Looks like the blonde, braided head of LOCUS' Amelia Beamer is in the background at the :59 mark (looks like her, anyway). FACT's Laura Domitz pops up at the :57 and :56 mark. And oh yeah -- News9 has apparently discovered a new way to spell my name -- "Piacacio" instead of "Picacio". Now I know how Paolo Baciagalupi feels....

This is actually the first time I've ever embedded video here on my blog. Let's see if this works. Oh yeah, one final FYI: beware the 10-second commercial before this segment, as it may have ear-splitting static, depending on which random commercial pops up. Onward....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 World Fantasy Award Nominee!

While away at Worldcon in Denver, the 2008 World Fantasy Award Nominations List was announced. I'm thrilled to be one of the five finalists in the Artist category!! My fellow artist nominees are Ruan Jia, Mikko Kinnunen, Stephan Martiniere, and Edward Miller. Proud to be in their esteemed company. :)

Overall the entire list is loaded with good news. A few highlights:

Life Achievement -- Leo & Diane Dillon: Hugely deserving, and great to see artists recognized in this category! I voted for Moebius and Jeffrey Jones on my ballot this year, but I'm extremely happy to see the Dillons recognized with this honor.

Novel -- Great to see Michael Marshall Smith's THE SERVANTS on the ballot! Very surprised that Dan Simmons' THE TERROR didn't make the list though.

Novella -- Tough list here...hurray for Kim Newman and MonkeyBrain Books! You too, Lucius.

Short Story -- Wow, John Klima's LOGORRHEA racks up two of the five noms here. Awesome!

Anthology -- Ellen Datlow racks up two of the five here, and that man Klima is here again with a nod for LOGORRHEA.

Collection -- More love for Kim Newman and MonkeyBrain Books as THE SECRET FILES OF THE DIOGENES CLUB gets a nom, along with more love for Lucius Shepard

Special Award, Professional -- This category makes my head spin....toughest category of the year to pick. Look at the names in this one....Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, Alan Beatts, Jude Feldman, Pete Crowther, Gordon Van Gelder, Jeremy Lassen, Jason Williams, and Shawna McCarthy. Terrific list of finalists, but a heart-breaking choice for the judges to pick a winner. Shoutout to Alan and Jude for being first-time World Fantasy Award nominees....honestly, of all the names on this year's list, seeing them recognized for their bookselling excellence reinforces why I respect the WF Awards so much.

Special Award, Non-Professional -- If you're counting at home, the juggernaut known as John Klima is involved with a total of four WF noms this year, including one here, and I couldn't be happier for him. Go, Klima!!! :) Extremely pleased to see Stephen Jones here with TRAVELLERS IN DARKNESS: THE SOUVENIR BOOK OF THE WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2007. This was essentially the program book for last year's World Horror Con, and it's hands-down the finest convention program book ever produced. Yeah, it features cover art by me, but that's not the reason I say that. Hold this book in your hands, and you'll appreciate the love and production value pumped into every page. An amazing job by Steve and designer Michael Marshall Smith (the same MMS nominated for Best Novel). Expect this book to sell for several hundred dollars on Ebay, someday...if it doesn't already.

Congrats to all of the nominees! See you in Calgary at this year's World Fantasy Con for the festivities.

Worldcon 2008 Photos

TURNABOUT INTRUDER: Paolo Baciagalupi and Irene Gallo trade places for a night; Paolo claims to have told several unsuspecting authors just how bad their covers really are, while Irene cheerfully let everyone know that their tawdry lives were nothing more than a capitalistic charade

GOOD TIMES AT THE HARPERCOLLINS/EOS PARTY (l to r): Traci Picacio; Eos executive editor and hostess supreme Diana Gill; Jude Feldman

MORE EOS GOOD TIMES (l to r): Jack Skillingstead; Nancy Kress; Ellen Datlow; Sheila Williams

PYR'S PARTY ROCKED (l to r): L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and Lou Anders at the Pyr Party celebrating Ian McDonald's Hugo nomination for Best Novel with BRASYL

CHILLIN' AT THE PYR PARTY (l to r): Caroline Symcox; Paul Cornell; George Mann (back); Carsten Polzin

LET THEM EAT ART: My cover illustration for the new issue of ASIMOV'S gets the chocolate treatment at the ASIMOV'S party

HUGO NIGHT: In the green room, before the Hugo Awards (l to r) -- Yours truly; Traci Picacio; Hugo finalist Lou Anders; Caroline Symcox; Hugo finalist Paul Cornell

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROC: Penguin's Ace/Roc editor supreme (and Hugo finalist) Ginjer Buchanan (far left) represents in style at the post-Hugos festivities, along with Farah Mendelsohn and Traci Picacio

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back home from Worldcon '08

Words now, con photos later. A grueling, but rewarding week in Denver, at Worldcon 2008. I'm bushed. Some personal highlights:

* Good times with friends in and around the CCC and the Hyatt Regency: Lou Anders, Chris Roberson, Allison Baker, David Louis Edelman, Paul Cornell, George Mann, Mark Newton, Christian Dunn, Sean Williams, Alan Beatts, Jude Feldman, Irene Gallo, Diana Gill, Paolo Baciagalupi, Mario Acevedo, Shanna Swendson, Blake Charlton, Deanna Hoak, Cheryl Morgan, Kat Richardson, Ian McDonald, Liza Trombi, Amelia Beamer, Rani Graff, Jetse De Vries, Liz Gorinsky, Jeremy Lassen, Jim Minz, Diana Rowland, Diana Sherman, Warren Hammond, Walter Hunt, Kate Elliott, Alan Beck, and too many more to name.

* Good talks with Farah Mendelsohn, Moshe Feder, Steve Saffel, Cheryl Morgan, Colin Harris, Vincent Docherty, Seth Breidbart, Joni Dashoff, Andrea Senchy, Mike Willmoth, Jean Goddin, John Hertz and more.

* Big thrill -- ran into the legendary Frederik Pohl at 1am Saturday morning

* Fun parties -- The Tor Party (except for the brick-wall wave of "what's that smell??"), the Hugo Losers Party, the Asimovs Party, the Baen Party....great stuff, but hats off this year to Lou Anders' dominant Pyr Party and the HarperCollins/Eos Party, hosted by Diana Gill and Jack Womack. Eos did it classy and festive, and it was so much fun. Whoa, Pyr though -- they went all out with free Pyr beer glasses, potent Brazilian drinks, chocolate soccer balls, and Brazilian-themed decorations in honor of Ian McDonald's Hugo nomination for BRASYL. I heard buzz about their party even two days after it was over. Awesome.

* Stroll with the Stars -- hats off to Stu Segal! I thought Stu was nuts to think that anyone would wake up at 9am Friday, just so they could join Lou Anders, Paul Cornell, Stephen Segal, and me for a mile-long walk through downtown Denver. Wrong. We had a mighty pack of 40-50 strong and Stu may have just created a new Worldcon tradition.

* Fun Friday lunch, and good talk, with Jack Skillingstead, Nancy Kress, Patrick Swenson, and Daryl Gregory. First time I've met Jack....I'll soon be illustrating the cover of his new Golden Gryphon collection, which will release sometime in '09, I believe.

* Won a Worldcon Art Show Award! My pencil process drawing for Robert Silverberg's SON OF MAN (pictured at top) was selected amongst the best works in this year's Art Show. Good thing I'm not a betting man because I actually thought this piece had a better shot, but I'm thrilled to be selected amongst the best, no matter what.

* Attention art collectors: If you haven't seen Vincent Villafranca's bronzes, you're missing out. This guy's a superstar. I wish I owned this.

* Being a Hugo Award Nominee -- Proud to fourth consecutive year as a Hugo Award finalist in the Best Professional Artist category. Unfortunately, still no Hugo win for yours truly. I finished in second this year. Stephan Martiniere got the rocket (congrats, Stephan!). If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get a fifth shot next year and maybe we'll see what happens then. Never take these things for granted. For now, back to doing what matters -- creating art, and chopping the rock. This year was the first time Traci joined me at the Hugo festivities, and that was special.

* I was proud to see my compadre David Louis Edelman finish a strong third place in the Campbell Award balloting. Mary Robinette Kowal took the prize (congrats, Mary!) in a very stacked group of finalists that included Joe Abercrombie, David Anthony Durham, Scott Lynch, and Jon Armstrong. Bigger days ahead for DEdelman! Disappointed for my pal Paul Cornell, who finished second in Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form category. Stephen Moffatt's "Blink"/DR. WHO episode won the Hugo, but I sure would've liked to see Paul up there for his "Human Nature" episode. Hopefully, another year, another time, for Paul. Ditto for Lou Anders who has many more noms to come.

* Hats off to all the tireless folks that helped to make this year's Worldcon fun and successful. This show had its fair share of problems (too much real estate between function spaces; lack of appropriate signage; projectors that never seemed to project properly), but everyone did their best, and it was appreciated. Apologies to those I forgot to mention, and onwards to Anticipation next year!

Friday, August 01, 2008

2008 Chesley Award Noms

The 2008 Chesley Award Nominations are here. I'm a finalist in two categories -- Best Hardcover Illustration (for the cover of Sheri S. Tepper's THE MARGARETS (top) and Best Paperback Illustration (for the cover of Rebecca Ore's TIME'S CHILD (both published by HarperCollins/Eos)). Thanks to Richard Aquan, Diana Gill, and Jennifer Brehl for those assignments. :)

Great company in both categories -- Donato Giancola, Bob Eggleton, Todd Lockwood, Stephan Martiniere, John Jude Palencar, Dan Dos Santos, and more. Congrats to all fellow Chesley nominees this year.

Update: the Chesley Ceremony will be Thursday, August 7th (7:30pm) at Worldcon/Denvention.